WASHINGTON – U.S. President Joe Biden will host leaders from Latin America and the Caribbean at the White House on Friday to discuss economic issues and migration as he seeks to bolster ties in the region to counter China and other global competitors. Leaders from Barbados, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Peru and Uruguay are expected to attend Friday’s gathering, as well as representatives from Mexico and Panama. The inaugural Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity, or APEP, Leaders’ Summit comes as Biden’s foreign policy agenda is dominated by the Israel-Hamas conflict in Gaza and Ukraine’s bid to repel Russian invaders. The United States will announce new economic tools together with the Inter-American Development Bank and private donors to aid countries hosting migrants in the Western Hemisphere, with a goal of expanding economic cooperation and curbing migrant arrivals at the U.S-Mexico border, senior administration officials said. ‘When the countries are working together on a common economic agenda … it has the potential to significantly shift the economic dynamics in a region that has been moving slower than its peers on the adoption of technology, on taking advantage of the nearshoring trends,’ a senior administration official said. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau embraces Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley at the White House in Washington on Nov. 3, 2023, during the inaugural Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity Leaders’ Summit. Biden remained convinced that targeted economic investment in refugee and migrant host countries ‘is critical to stabilizing migration flows,’ a second official said. Six APEP countries – Costa Rica, Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, Chile and Panama – have offered legal status to millions of people displaced in the Western Hemisphere, the official said. ‘They have stepped up in big ways, and we are stepping up for them. APEP is a big part of that,’ the official said. U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen hosted a breakfast meeting for the leaders at the Treasury on Friday, telling them that the U.S. would work closely with the IDB to support efforts to better integrate the region’s supply chains. She said Treasury strongly supported efforts by Inter-American Development Bank President Ilan Goldfajn to reform its private sector arm, IDB Invest, and would work with the bank’s other shareholders to enable a ‘significant’ capital increase for IDB Invest. The IDB, the region’s largest development bank, will unveil a new financing platform to serve middle- and higher-income countries, potentially mobilizing billions of dollars for investment in renewable energy, officials said. The effort was focused on bolstering the region’s ability to compete globally in the clean energy, semiconductor and medical supplies sectors, one of the officials said. The summit follows a similarly themed meeting of Western Hemisphere leaders in Los Angeles last year, part of a broader push aimed at strengthening regional economic ties and reducing China’s influence in the region. At the ‘Summit of the Americas,’ the U.S. and 19 other countries signed a nonbinding declaration agreeing to a set of measures to confront the migration crisis. Record numbers of migrants have crossed illegally through the U.S.-Mexico border in recent years, with hundreds of thousands of people heading north after traversing a perilous jungle region known as the Darien Gap between Colombia and Panama.

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